Cambodia’s gaming regulator says it expects the number of licensed casinos across the kingdom will eventually be slashed to “around 50”, but full implementation of the new gaming law will take many years to realize.
Ros Phirun, Secretary General of the Cambodia Commercial Gambling Management Commission (CGMC), provided an update on the regulator’s progress during the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in Las Vegas earlier this month, where members of the CGMC staff underwent training on issues such as anti-money laundering, auditing and supervision.
While implementation of Cambodia’s new gaming law, passed in 2021, has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Phirun said the regulator has primarily been focused on licensing in the first instance with the number of casino licenses issued currently sitting at 87 – down from more than 200 pre-law.
While the CGMC will likely issue “a few more” in the months ahead, “in the long run I think it is probably around 50,” Phirun explained, with a grace period for existing casino operators to fully comply with requirements under the gaming law allowing full implementation to be phased in over the next 15 years.
Phirun said implementation of the new law was vital to strengthening Cambodia’s casino industry but reiterated that bringing staff up to standard was the CGMC’s first priority.
“First we need to strengthen the capacity of our staff,” he said. “We have a good law, we have a good regulation, we have good policy, but if the capacity of the staff is still low then no one will enforce the law. This must be done together so that we can regulate the industry to international standards.
“We are strengthening this industry step by step but we delayed in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic so our staff tried to prepare our regulations relevant to the law in order to enforce the law.
“So we are really just starting from 2022 to implement these regulations – it is still very young.”
Phirun also revealed the CGMC was initially taking a soft touch on revenue collection under the new law, which replaces the previous annual fee with a 4% tax on VIP GGR, 7% on mass GGR and a 10% VAT on both.
“Currently, because we are still young in this industry – both the regulator and the operators – we are allowing [operators] to self-declare for tax,” he explained. “And they are learning how to self-declare, so in the first phase we are not receiving much tax but it cannot stay like that – we have to enforce and collect more tax.”
The full interview with Phirun can be viewed in the video above.